Aluminum Cylinder Heads
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    Default Aluminum Cylinder Heads

    Is it feasible and at what approximate cost to print aluminum cylinder heads for antique Rolls-Royce six cylinder engines. Many of the existing heads are rotting thru the water passages and becoming unrepairable. A few have been reproduced by casting but there are a number of different engines and heads in use. Heads vary from 30-38" long, about 8" wide and 5" high. Up to 100 copies of some of the various heads would need to be produced and finish machining for valve seats and guides would be negotiable.

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    I'd blue-sky a cost of $10-15K each, not including the CAT-scan (or whatever is used to make the model), and the raw powder material may up that cost for something that size. But that's a real WAG, so could be way off. That's a big enough part that it might limit the companies that could print it.

    There are companies that will use a wax or meltable plastic 3D print to make the cores for casting, it might wind up cheaper to investigate that.

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    $10K is a number which would create a fairly large demand. There are a couple shops who already have models, drawings and most of the necessary documentation. Rolls-Royce and Bentley heads are very well documented and should be a reasonably easy build. A large number of cars are going to become involuntary garage queens over the next few years. I have had to do extensive welding and repair work on some already, only prolonging the inevitable by 5-10 years.

    Printing the cores is also a potential alternative but requiring more extensive machining work after. Both alternatives would need to be explored.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leadfootin View Post
    Is it feasible and at what approximate cost to print aluminum cylinder heads for antique Rolls-Royce six cylinder engines. Many of the existing heads are rotting thru the water passages and becoming unrepairable. A few have been reproduced by casting but there are a number of different engines and heads in use. Heads vary from 30-38" long, about 8" wide and 5" high. Up to 100 copies of some of the various heads would need to be produced and finish machining for valve seats and guides would be negotiable.
    AFAIK, the same third-party specialists - once clustered in the North of Italy, or North-East Spain/South-West France...might STILL be? - who make the goods for easily half a hundred different present-day aluminium heads would be the go-to.

    Whatever it is that works for prototype, to limited-production race engnes, to mass-production basic transportation, they are more than just a hundred years as good at it as ever was.

    Possible exception early BMW SOHC six - one of the most notoriously bad 'loominum head casting designs. Anywhere. Ever.

    Thereafter? Nothing "new" to it unless they've found "new" useful.

    It's their Day job, Basque country or Northern Italy.. and for a coupla thousand years arredy, sand, "lost wax", "lost foam", 3-D cores... wotever suits, prehistoric times onward.

    And "it's only MONEY", but beating their prices is probably going to cost a great deal more in the attempt than it saves.

    Beating "the experience" is never cheap!


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    If you are going to need 100 or so I would talk to Cosworth Engineering in England. They are good at the low production deal. They make some of the nicest castings I have ever seen. You can get a head from them complete and ready to install.

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    Well you have a range of skills required cosworth may have all those skills in one spot so check them out.

    You would also try the aftermarket aluminium head companies in America , DART, edelbrock there may be more but that just come off the top of my head.
    duck duck go search them or google if you like and search for them.

    here's another one Small Block Chevy Archives | Liberty Performance Components

    Visit a aftermarket speed shop and see what brands are being supplied.

    Try them all i suppose they would want digital models to quote on as a starting point but ask just in case.

    Once you have it in place with a supply it may pay to do a website for replacement heads as if your having the problem there it will be a world over problem. then with a website at least people will be able to find you and buy from you. not all people look on PM.

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    Most of the pre-war Rolls owners or their car service people are quite aware of the problem and any time a few head castings appear on the market from one English supplier they are sold almost immediately. I do not believe it would be very difficult to get heads either cast or otherwise reproduced. Most of the reproduction parts are in the hands of a few companies, none of whom think outside the box or research all the alternatives.

    One group cast about 15 V12 blocks which sold within a few months. Problem was I could get a LSM Engineering in Waterford Michigan to make me a billet block for less money and with far better quality. Should I need a block I will know where to go. I will be talking to a friend of mine who specializes in the Phantom II's which have the most severe head issues and ask him if he wants to proceed with the additive approach.

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    Talk to Tom out at Scat. He has a “back room” where he works ( or used to) in old cars and restores them. High priced cars rolls, Bentleys and sort he made many of the parts needed and has the resources. My brother picked up some billet jd cranks years ago and he showed him his “projects” good guy


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    A little late to this party, but bottom line is if you are making more than a dozen sets or so, casting is going to be much cheaper than even the quickest deposition rate 3D printing (like EBAM).

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    At this it looks like the best route will be to contact some of the racing cylinder head makers. They may have capabilities to CNC from billet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leadfootin View Post
    At this it looks like the best route will be to contact some of the racing cylinder head makers. They may have capabilities to CNC from billet.
    Possibly aircraft grede. And being out of billet, they won't need water passages.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    Possibly aircraft grede. And being out of billet, they won't need water passages.
    Or valves, if it's Mil-Spec Aircraft Grade Billet, which has mystical thaumaturgical properties, including quantum respiration capability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EmanuelGoldstein View Post
    Possibly aircraft grede. And being out of billet, they won't need water passages.
    Done in a two piece construction so that you can machine the water jackets and the correct phrasing is "Bill It".
    Bob

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    This company can 3D print you sand cores for casting a head. You will need to provide the CAD models for the sand cores not just the head by they can likely suggest a casting company for you.

    ExOne | 3D Printed Sand Casting Molds On Demand

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    Hoosier Pattern uses ExOne printers and can help you engineer your tooling from your design.

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    Hello leadfootin,

    I will mix in a little market intelligence -- as an owner of a number of old Rolls-Royce and Bentleys, I much prefer the idea of a sand casting with 3D printed forms from the standpoint of keeping it close to the original design. Also, I think the very small prewar Rolls-Royce Wraith community would gobble up a number of cylinder heads - as you probably know these are cast iron however.

    Jon W.
    Detroit

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    Done in a two piece construction so that you can machine the water jackets and the correct phrasing is "Bill It".
    Bob
    Taking the easy way out!

    I've done them one piece and what a PITA!! Finally they redesigned it for 2 pieces and cost and time drops signifcantly.

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    there are a couple sand mold makers around here in ontario, some near hamilton. probably the cheapest best bet for a few.
    I also know a friend of mine who works in Tillsonburg that has a mark forged metal 3D printer for titanium and stainless. it cost them something like $150K to buy the machine. It only has a small print window though, something like 15"x18"

    I could only guess a one off run of heads might be $10,000 to get started then probably a few thousand a piece to get molded and machined.

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    Well it used to cost $50-100k pretty easily to get cores made and the casting process worked out.

    Also, you generally need water jackets unless you are only drag racing on alky. You can also get some billet heads with just enough water to get through staging, make a pass, and get towed back to the pits.

    I'm strongly considering making some two piece heads for my Olds. By the time I had everything modeled up to make my billet intake I can machine a head.

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    Now I want to know what the OP went with, or whether this just sorta dissipated as many such projects do.


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